Habitat for Humanity – North Central Georgia held a Dedication Ceremony for three families last Saturday at the Villages of Park Creek neighborhood in Woodstock on the border of Cherokee County and Fulton County. Over 50 community members, sponsors, family members and Habitat staff and board members attended the ceremony. It was a beautiful day and everyone was overcome with joy as each family received the keys to their new home.
“This is the sixth phase, homes sixteen through eighteen, that Habitat has built in the neighborhood”, stated Russ Hayes, CEO. “The original developer had abandoned the subdivision, completing homes on less than one-third of the available home sites and leaving a defunct homeowners association and nearly 50 weed-strewn lots. Habitat-North Central Georgia is working to revitalize the neighborhood and provide affordable homes to deserving families in North Fulton and Cherokee County.” In addition, Habitat has received HOME grant funds from Cherokee County to help pay for the land acquisition costs for many of the lots that have been built on.
The first home was built in partnership with Dadie Laventure who has three sons; Jimmy (14), Alex (13) and Bryan (12). Ms. Laventure came to the United States from Haiti in 1996 to escape the poverty and violence of her native country. She is raising her sons with the help of her mother, who came to the United States last year. Ms. Laventure has worked for a large department store since 2005. Her home was built with the support of the Thrivent Builds program and the Lutheran coalition. The grant from the Thrivent Builds program provides 50% of the cost of construction, and was given to Habitat North Central Georgia by Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity, a unique partnership between Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Habitat for Humanity International. The remaining 50% of the construction costs are contributed by the Lutheran Coalition; a group of Lutheran Churches who donate both the funds and the volunteer labor. This is the sixth Thrivent Financial and Lutheran Coalition Build in North Central Georgia.
The second home was built in partnership with the Mwangi family. Hellen and Geoffrey Mwangi have two children, Joy (8) and Joshua (6). Hellen immigrated to the United States in 2004 from Kenya. It took several years for her husband and two children to obtain the required approval to join her. Hellen has worked as a caregiver since 2004. Geoffrey works at a local clothing store. They are thrilled that the sponsor of their home is the UPS Foundation. UPS not only provided the funds to build the home but also all of the volunteer labor. The UPS Foundation and its employees have been long- time supporters of Habitat North Central Georgia and are dedication to the mission of providing affordable housing to families.
Habitat partnered with Blanca Ramos on the third home. Ms. Ramos has two adult children and one young daughter (2). Ms. Ramos is employed at a local construction supply store. She feels blessed to have so many wonderful sponsors who helped to build her home including; Balfour Beatty, Enercon, Generation Mortgage Company, Gresham, Smith & Partners, OCI Enterprises, Ryder, Schoen Insulation Services, Siemens, Sullivan & Schlieman Wealth Management LLC and Transamerica. “I want to thank all of the wonderful sponsors who came out every week to help build my home. It has truly been a blessing and a dream come true to have a home of my own and for my family.”
Habitat for Humanity – North Central Georgia is a non-profit, Christian housing ministry that builds simple, decent homes for purchase by low income families who demonstrate a capacity for responsible homeownership. Since its inception in 1995, 243 homes have been completed and over 850 family members have been served in North Fulton, Cherokee and Forsyth/Dawson counties. Each family is required to attend 10 educational classes and perform 300 sweat equity hours. Families earn between 25% and 60% of the Atlanta area median income and purchase their homes from Habitat which provides them with a 30-year, no-interest loan. Family members work side by side with the volunteers, sponsors, and Habitat staff to build their homes. These families not only get to experience the pride of homeownership but they also know that their lives will be changed forever. For more information on Habitat for Humanity – North Central Georgia, please visit www.habitat-ncg.org.